7 Best Orthopedic Shoes for Style and Support
Eliminate the stigma and unwanted attention that comes with conspicuous orthopedic shoes by opting for therapeutic shoes that don’t call attention to themselves but relieve your foot pain and provide stability.
Are you struggling to find the best orthopedic shoes that fit your unique foot shape?
Here, we will help you discover comfy, inconspicuous, and protective footwear specially made for you.
What is an Orthopedic Shoe?
Everyone’s bodies, foot structures, and lifestyles are different. While some people can buy shoes without being too concerned about their foot health, others may have foot conditions requiring orthopedic shoes to alleviate pain.
Orthopedic sandals or shoes are designed to enhance and support the mobility of people with unique foot shapes. They can also be worn by people with diabetes or amputation of the feet or toes. Note that flat sandals are not recommended for people with severe foot pain.
Given the diverse use of orthopedic shoes, no single design is recommended for all individuals with orthopedic needs.
Types of Orthopedic Shoes
Orthopedic shoes are generally classified into two groups: custom-made orthopedic shoes and mass-produced therapeutic shoes.
Custom-made or prescribed orthotics are customized shoe inserts prescribed by a podiatrist to enhance and support the foot.
Mass-produced shoe options often come with removable insoles that can be replaced with orthotics or shoe inserts.
Orthopedic shoes can be categorized into seven major classes: padded tongue, city, barouk, therapeutic safety, wide fit, arch support, and spare potent.
Padded Tongue Shoes
Padded tongue shoes are specially designed to help eliminate or relieve pain inflicted by overuse or excessive pressure on the feet. They also help cushion areas where new shoes typically cause discomfort. Padded tongue shoes are usually prescribed for individuals who suffer from blisters.
Individuals with swollen feet from arthritis and surgery, as well as those with oedematous and neuropathic conditions, are advised to purchase a city shoe.
City shoes have a wide front and rear opening to make them easy to put on and take off. They can accommodate almost any foot size or shape.
Barouk shoes are post-operative shoes that doctors prescribe to patients who have had forefoot surgery. The footwear works by shifting the pressure away from the toes and metatarsals, hence relieving or reducing foot pain.
Unlike other orthopedic shoes in this guide, Barouk shoes are meant to be worn temporarily to promote healing. While Barouk shoes are designed to be worn while recovering from toe injuries, they should not be worn for long periods after the toes have improved.
Therapeutic Safety Shoes
For people with diabetes, cuts or bruises on the feet can lead to serious problems. Diabetics should avoid shoes that are too tight or cause an unusual amount of friction against the foot.
Therapeutic safety shoes are the best alternatives for diabetics and individuals with sensitive or wide feet. They are light, easy to wear, and well-cushioned.
Wide Fit Shoe
Morton’s neuroma is a condition with numbness or pain in the toes, often caused by tight-fitting shoes. Doctors prescribe wide shoes for patients with Morton’s neuroma to allow for proper alignment or realignment of the foot. Health experts often recommend these shoes for people with blisters or hammertoes.
Arch Support Shoe
Arch support shoes are the best footwear for people experiencing pains in the ankles, knee joint, or tarsus.
Spare Potent Heels
Shoes come in different weights, depending on what the shoe is made of and how it is constructed. The weight of a shoe may make it more comfortable or less comfortable to wear, depending on the wearer’s age and health.
The heel and counter designs in some heavy shoes can cause falls for older adults. A spare potent heel or firm heel counter design helps to prevent falls among older adults.
Things to consider when choosing an orthopedic shoe
There is a difference between an orthopedic-friendly shoe and an orthopedic shoe. Orthopedic-friendly shoes are mass-produced, while orthopedic shoes are custom-made.
An orthopedic-friendly shoe is a podiatrist-approved shoe that will help you during temporary situations like post-surgery foot maintenance or restoration of the foot arch. You can also use them for permanent conditions like diabetic feet or a diabetic ulcer.
However, people who are suffering from chronic feet or limb deformity will benefit greatly from an orthotic shoe specially designed by a podiatrist.
From our experience, the best orthopedic shoe brands are KURU, Asics, OrthoFeet, and Vionic. Below are the factors you should consider before shopping for orthopedic shoes.
The interior features you should look out for include the removability of the insole, softness, position of foam, spaciousness of the toe box, and heel width.
It is preferable to choose an orthopedic shoe with a removable insole. You can replace the original insole with the one that your podiatrist provided; the replacement should provide sufficient comfort to relieve foot discomfort.
Have you walked a short distance in a shoe, and a two-minute walk felt like a two-mile walk on a rocky path? Without enough toe room in the shoe, your feet will feel irritated, hot, and sweaty, and you may experience foot discomfort or calluses with time.
People with collapsed arches should generally avoid flat sole shoes. To maintain stability while walking, the heel should be on elevation.
People whose left foot varies significantly from their right should opt for custom-made orthopedic footwear instead of a mass-produced orthopedic-related new pair of shoes.
You may be wondering—what effect does a shoe’s external structure have on my foot health? A variety of factors affect a shoe’s overall quality, including the material used in its construction.
When you choose fabric over leather, your feet will breathe and stay cool. This will reduce foot perspiration and the formation of calluses. It is not recommended that you wear heels if you have ankle pain, foot pain, arthritis, or swollen feet.
While health professionals do not recommend high heels for comfort or health reasons, flat shoes will not do much good either. Why?
Health professionals advise people with plantar fasciitis or flat feet to wear shoes with good heels. The term sufficient is relative and you shouldn’t misinterpret it as high heels.
The height of your shoe heel depends on your foot condition, so you must consult an orthopedic doctor for reliable information on the right heel height.
One thing that doesn’t change regardless of the heel height is the heel bendability rule. A heel that is difficult to bend would serve you better and improve your condition than one which bends easily.
An oversized or undersized sneaker won’t help your walking posture and might worsen your foot condition; hence you should go for your true size.
Replace your outgrown or poorly fitting shoes with new ones that fit properly, particularly in the forefoot of the shoe.
When trying on shoes, wear your regular socks. This will help you determine which size is best for you.
Realistically speaking, shoe sizes change with weather and time of the day. Hence, you need the appropriate size, so the shoe doesn’t feel tight in the morning and loose in the afternoon.
Not all shoe brands specialize in the same styles. Some are better suitable for certain types of feet than others.
Just because your friend has hyped up a shoe brand, it doesn’t necessarily mean those shoes will be the best fit for you. Check for more reviews and filter through the brands on your list.
Some brands make athletic shoes, while others make dress shoes. Knowing your needs can help you decide if a particular brand’s products are right for you.
7 Best Orthopedic Shoes
We’ll recommend the best orthopedic shoes for men and women using all the factors listed in the previous section. You can rest assured that experts have tested and trusted these shoes.
Top Pick for Men
From the start, we promised to equip you with the best orthopedic shoes that are as fashionable as your favorite name-brand sneakers and also very effective in relieving your foot discomfort and helping you maintain stability while walking.
The KURU ROAM classic court sneaker is the epitome of everything we want for the best orthopedic shoes. The dynamic duo of KURU’s KURUSOLE and KURUCLOUD technology means the ROAM dynamically flexes to cup your heels with every step. The multipurpose shoe can be worn in casual, work, or tennis attire.
The ROAM sneaker is available in four distinct colors, namely black, white, gray, and navy.
Built with perforated eco-friendly leather, the KURU ROAM creates a breathable atmosphere, reducing the occurrence of sweaty feet, foot pain, or calluses.
Start your foot health journey with a pair of ROAM sneakers.
Top Pick for Women
For comfortable orthopedic shoes for daily exercise routines, look no further than the QUANTUM sneaker from KURU Footwear.
The QUANTUM sneaker is available in medium and wide widths. You can choose from seven different lovely colors according to your taste.
With QUANTUM sneakers, you don’t have to worry about foot pain or sweaty feet, as the sneakers come with a wide toe box and breathable mesh uppers.
Boost your foot health with QUANTUM sneakers.
Other Great Orthopedic Shoes For Men
Dr. Comfort Performance Sneaker
If a person becomes inactive due to a foot condition, other conditions like obesity and heart diseases might step in.
The only way forward is to get comfortable footwear that would not only provide cushion but help maintain good walking posture.
Dr. Comfort is one of the best men’s shoes for exercising. One of its unique benefits is that it doesn’t require lacing, hence you can slip it on and off with ease. Also, it has wide-toe boxes.
L.L. Bean Comfort Mocs Men’s Footwear
For men who are not sneakerheads, L.L Bean Comfort Mocs is an escape from the lace lifestyle.
The best orthopedic shoes come with an EVA cushioned midsole that provides comfort, stability, and anatomical support. It has a simple design that is suitable for work and casual meetings.
Merrell Men’s Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe
We love the earthy design and suede mesh upper. If you want to keep it classy and comfy, Merrell slip-on shoe Nissan is definitely a must-have. It comes in 22 different colors but the caster lock shoe is one of our favorites.
Other Great Orthopedic Shoes For Women
Skechers GOwalk Joy
We’ve covered the best orthopedic sneakers for men and women. What is the best slip-on for women?
Skechers GOwalk Joy is the ultimate option for women who are tired of bending every time to adjust the laces of their comfortable sneakers.
The Skechers GOwalk Joy has a design that can slip on and off quickly, making it ideal for a trip to the grocery store.
Skechers GOwalk Joy offers comfort and quality at an affordable price.
HOKA Bondi X
The beauty of getting orthopedic sneakers is the shock-absorbing feature and sufficient toe space offered in stylish orthopedic shoes. Going by this basic standard, HOKA Bondi X is one of the best orthopedic shoes for women.
HOKA Bondi X is fortified with high-quality foam and a reliable midsole. It has good arch support, and shock absorption and the internal part feels comfy. It doesn’t just protect the feet but also shields the Achilles tendon and narrow heel.
Social security in the US covers custom-made shoes and mass-produced therapeutic shoes. Ask your podiatrist if the same is true for you. We hope this guide has been helpful to you.
Who needs orthopedic shoes?
As we have hinted, orthopedic shoes are not only for people with uncommon feet or limb structures.
Diabetics and people who have had foot or ankle surgery may benefit from wearing orthopedic shoes while their feet are healing.
Health experts recommend orthopedic shoes generally for people with unique podiatric foot conditions. But they may also be necessary for people with “normal” feet in certain circumstances. These include:
Swollen or disjointed foot
Inflammation, surgery, or disjointed feet can cause swollen feet. Usually, foot swelling comes with pain which can hamper our day-to-day activities. When you discover abnormal swelling in your ankle or foot, the first person you should consult is your physician or podiatrist.
In addition to recommending medication or therapy, a physician would likely recommend a quality orthopedic shoe. This is because your usual footwear could exacerbate pain and damage already-swollen feet.
Sharp Heel Pain
One of the most common causes of sharp discomfort in your heel is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative condition that owes its name to the plantar fascia, a group of connective tissues that cuts across the sole of the foot, starting from the ball to the heel.
The inflammation of the plantar fascia causes Plantar fasciitis. The major symptoms include sole ache, and sharp pain felt beneath the heel.
The sharp heel pain primes after taking the first couple of steps in the morning or after standing for a long period of time.
A podiatrist is best equipped to diagnose the root cause of foot conditions and prescribe appropriate solutions. Common remedies include orthopedic shoes that provide comfort and soothe feet affected by these conditions.
High arch or flat foot
There are people who were born with flat feet with zero or no significant arch in the sole of their feet. Such people would find it difficult to walk and they may develop foot pain.
On the other hand, there are people with high arches. This set of people may experience toe problems, foot pain, calluses, corns, or ankle fluctuations.
Individuals who experience either of these foot conditions may need custom-made fashionable orthopedic shoes to walk normally, prevent constant foot pain, or adjust the arch back to its normal form.
An imbalance in the foot’s normal biomechanics causes a condition called overpronation, usually caused by walking on hard surfaces, genetics, or poor walking habits. It occurs when the arch of the foot falls overly inward or outward, causing stress on the joints and tendons of the foot and ankle, and the use of supportive orthopedic shoes can correct that condition.
Another cause of overpronation is aging, which weakens the bones and alters how a person walks. Orthopedic footwear can help with mobility and reduce tripping or falling.
Some people learn how to walk with overpronated feet, but it isn’t healthy and causes their shoes to wear excessively from the inside or outside, depending on the type of pronation.
Limb injury can cause an imbalance in how an individual walks; sometimes, the damage is permanent.
An orthopedic shoe will not reverse the damage done to the patient’s foot, but it can help the patient regain stability and function.
Without the shoe, the individual might develop more injury and pain due to the inability to walk properly or resting too much on one of the two legs.
We discussed the relevance of orthopedic shoes to people with diabetes earlier in this guide. In case you missed it, the best orthopedic shoes recommended for diabetics are quite different from those given to other patients.
The therapeutic safety shoes are light, comfortable and lack pressure mounted on our feet by regular shoes.
Note: Other people who might need the best orthopedic shoes are people with bunions, hammer toes, diabetic ulcers, Charlotte disease, and arthritis.